It's said that most artists, (true artistes anyways) are never fully satisfied with their work. Tweaking, changing, adding and always modifying their works, but never to satisfaction; sometimes to even the detriment of the final copy.
So when David Dhawan reboots his own film 'Judwaa' from 1997, with his son in the lead role, you would think he would try to modify and update his story for a new generation. What we end up with though, is almost the exact same movie, with better visuals.
'Judwaa 2' does very little to update the original, but is enjoyable on the backs of the charm of its cast.
★★★ (out of 5)
When twins are separated at birth, each boy has a uniquely different upbringing and personality, raised in completely different circumstances. Raja, (Varun Dhawan) the twin separated from his parents, ends up being raised on the streets of Mumbai, learning to have to fend for himself, along with the help of his buddy Nandu (Rajpal Yadav). Raja is brash, arrogant and the physically stronger of the two boys. Prem, (also Varun Dhawan) on the other hand, was raised in London, with the love and affection of his parents, result ing in a meek, timid and creative personality.
There's also the premise of 'Judwaa 2', which is the biggest suspension of disbelief that the audiences needs to buy into for any of the comedy to have any impact. The twins at birth were conjoined, resulting in a condition called 'reflex action', (made up) that allows one twin to (at times) feel, do and act the exact same things as the other twin.
So when Raja gets into a fight, Prem also beats up however is physically near him at the same time. Same goes for getting beat up, or other random actions and emotions here and there. The best use of this joke is buried in the climax, as one brother has to tell the other to 'slow down' during their honeymoons with their respective wives.
It's a plot device that is completely inconsistent through out the film and makes absolutely no sense, but is relatively easy to buy into, as long as you're not thinking too hard about it. Like, ever!
'Judwaa 2', is a mad cap comedy adventure of epic misunderstandings, decent action and performances that are enjoyable all around. The film actually survives a lot due to the performances of its pretty incredible cast, making the same story interesting and enjoyable simply through their jokes and charm.
Anupam Kher is pretty amazing as father to Jacqueline Fernandes' Alishka, having to deal with the inconsistencies of who he thinks is his daughter's lover. Rajpal Yadav is always tiny and cute with his patented sidekick act. Pavan Malhotra as the slow witted London police officer, constantly after Raja for illegal immigration is a surprising addition and one of the genuinely funny characters of the movie.
The only problem with 'Judwaa 2', and in my opinion the biggest, is the fact that the film does absolutely nothing to update its source material, and is at times, a scene by scene, line by line mirror of the original film. And I mean a repetition of the same dialogue, joke and punchline, with very few edits.
Full disclosure: I went into 'Judwaa 2' having rewatched 'Judwaa', to better enjoy any inside jokes, throwback and / or homages to the original that the makers may have included. However, David Dhawan basically did a shot for shot version of his own movie, with the only story element that was tweaked, being the sub plot involving the film's antagonist father son duo played by Zakir Hussein ('Naam Shabana') and Vivan Bhatena ('Dangal').
'Judwaa 2' is essentially an exact copy of the original, with the most effort into adapting the story for new audiences, being put into the least interesting aspect of the film; the sub plot with the bad guys that no one really cares about.
But the film is enjoyable nonetheless. Not only is the film an imitation of the original, Varun Dhawan's performance is basically that of a younger Salman Khan. And I don't mean that as an insult. Dhawan is energized, and able to pull of a wide range, as well as display some awesome action moves. The winner of 'Judwaa 2' though, are its actresses.
Jacqueline Fernandez is a treat. She's gotten very good at playing similar roles in movies, (the recent 'A Gentleman' comes to mind) where she's the kind of clueless heroine. Fernandez plays the role without dumbing the character down, and still retaining her self respect most of the time. Scenes where the women think that their boyfriend is cheating on them due to twin confusion, are played with serious-ness that comes with feeling betrayed, instead of comedy at the woman's expense. (Your man may be doing another woman, Haha!)
Taapsee Pannu is a gorgeous! Pannu has proven her acting calibre in Bollywood movies like 'Pink' and 'Naam Shabana', but this may her first fully commercial glam-role in Bollywood. Seeing her perform in a setting that is visually polished and glossy, typical of the conventional Bollywood movie, only proves her ability to carry these types of mainstream movies with roles a lot more substantial than she was given here.
'Judwaa 2' is enjoyable and fun, but only if you haven't already seen and liked the original. The movie doesn't really differ from the first attempt for the exact same jokes and situations to land and have any sort of fresh impact. It's like hearing the same joke, told again in a different venue, to a different audience. It's just not as funny.
If you haven't seen the Salman Khan 'Judwaa', then 'Judwaa 2' will be a great treat. However, fans of the original can skip 'Judwaa 2' altogether and just watch the catchy-as-hell music videos, and enjoy the freshness of those sequences with the new actors.